The travel sector and commercial airlines in particular have been hit harder than most by the pandemic, however, one notable exception within the industry has been the private aviation market that has benefited from several growth opportunities throughout the last year.
The pandemic has opened the skies up to a whole new customer base. Whilst it is not alluring to fly with the general public surrounded by dozens of potentially infected strangers, it is increasingly desirable to travel with a few close friends, family or colleagues on a private jet.
Air Charter Service, the world’s largest private aircraft broker, says its new clients have increased by a quarter in the last year and as the world begins to open up again with vaccines, vaccine passports and increased testing, it seems inevitable that this increasing interest in private aviation will continue. Business travellers want the safety, convenience and security of private jets. Wealthy people will be seeking indulgent holidays with direct flights and the use of exclusive terminals.
Here we take a look at five of the firms who stand to benefit from this trend towards exclusive private flight.
SaxonAir operates a mix of their own fleet of private jets and helicopters plus managed aircraft from their purpose-built Business Aviation Centre and HQ at Norwich International Airport. Their Gulfstream G550 is capable of flying non-stop from London to Los Angeles or Hong Kong. The company, which is part of the Klyne Aviation Group, was established in 2007 with just one aircraft, one helicopter and five staff but has expanded over the years into a global operation with three dedicated hangars in Norwich. The company also has operating bases at London Luton, London Stansted and Cambridge – with aircraft strategically placed in many European capitals. As well as offering private aviation services, the company provide aircraft management, aircraft sales, flight support and offshore logistics. They fly over 40,000 passenger and 700 tonnes of freight to the southern North Sea every year.
This private jet charter company, founded is 2007, is Europe’s leader in the entry-level private aviation sector – and has more than half of the market share. Globe Air stayed within one percent of its 2019 run-rate during 2020 and is predicting healthy growth as a result of the pandemic. The operator is confident that it will see a 20 per cent increase in entry-level private jet charters in 2021. The company, which owns its entire fleet of 20 aircraft, has seen double-digit enquiries growth which they attribute to frequent flyers switching to private jets (converters) and existing private jet travellers who now prefer entry-level services (downgraders). Biosecurity is at the heart of their current offering and Globe Air says that a private jet journey will expose people to 20 touchpoints compared to an average of 700 on a commercial flight. It offers on-demand charter flights at competitive rates and fly to over 984 airports in Europe with 15-minute boarding time.
Hunt & Palmer
Established in 1986, bespoke air charter firm Hunt & Palmer are still delivering on their brand promise to go ‘Above All’ for success over 30 years later. The well-established company offers jet charter to individuals and businesses and also charters airlines to commercial operators. Their fleet of private and business jets ranges from a Citation Mustang, which can carry up to four people, right through to a Boeing Business Jet, designed to transport up to 48 people, with numerous options in between. Their brokers pride themselves on being able to offer bespoke services to world leaders, global VIPs and celebrities – plus anyone else wanting to make their flight and experience exclusive, unique and truly extraordinary.
Another firm with over 20 years of experience, Diamond Jets are one of the leading private jet charter brokers in the UK. With offices in the US and the USA they are able to use their extensive contacts in both territories. The company, which started operations in 2003, has access to a global network of planes from turbo props, to light jets, business aircraft and even airliners. Diamond Jets specifically claim that they are ‘not just for the rich and famous’ and can provide quotations 24/7 and confirm them up to four hours in advance of travel.
This privately owned British company has been delivering private jet solutions since 1997 and is based out of Farnborough Airport. Through their network Bookajet has access to over 5,000 aircraft worldwide which can seat anything from four people up to 16. Once a booking is made, a dedicated charter specialist will provide regular flight movement and weather updates along with a full flight brief. The team can arrange VIP transfers from connecting flights and sort cars and helicopters. As well as providing VIP travel, they specialise in rapid 24-hour medical response for patients, family members and medical care providers. Bookajet have their own Jetblack Card programme which allows clients to purchase a block of flying hours and use them across their seven categories of aircraft with great flexibility.
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